Another Day, Another Acquisition for LMS Provider, Desire2Learn

By Tony Wan

Still flush with cash from it's $80 million Series A round in September 2012, Ontario, Canada-based Desire2Learn (D2L) has been fulfilling a desire to buy other companies. It purchased Degree Compass in January and Wiggio in March. Today, Desire2Learn announced it is acquiring Vancouver-based Knowillage for an undisclosed sum.

Knowillage (pronounced "knowledge") has developed a personalized learning platform, LeaP, that uses a semantics search engine to automate the process of mapping learning materials to learning objectives. Knowillage LeaP has already been integrated with Desire2Learn along with other learning management system (LMS) providers, including Canvas and Moodle.

Here's how Knowillage LeaP works. Teachers first select learning objectives for their classes within the LMS provider. Then the LeaP program searches through content banks available through the LMS, as well as open resources like Wikipedia, to find materials that are relevant to the learning objectives. LeaP then constructs a learning path for students and recommends different content base on their progress with the materials.

D2L VP of marketing and business development, Jeff McDowell says that "the Knowillage acquisition is strategic for Desire2Learn as it adds an adaptive learning engine to our integrated learning platform.” He also tells EdSurge that "we're not going to force other Knowillage customers to switch to Desire2Learn."

Founded in 1999, D2L has clients in over 1,000 institution around the world. Company representative Virginia Jamieson says the client breakdown is 20% K-12, 60% higher-ed, and 20% corporate.

The Knowillage team of six will remain in Vancouver and continue operations as a part of Desire2Learn.

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